According to the Veteran’s Administration, 800,000 returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—and less than half will get the help they need. But lately, these soldiers are getting a little help from man’s best friend.
Kate Revels was one of thousands of soldiers who suffered in silence from PTSD.
“There's a certain amount of shame or guilt that you carry around with you.. in addition to feeling embarrassed,” Revels said.
Revels’ condition became so difficult to manage that she had to retire from the military and eventually start therapy. However, it wasn’t until she was matched with a terrier mix named Raiki that she said she finally started to heal.
Raiki is a service dog trained to assist soldiers like Kate who suffer from PTSD.
“When I get anxious, she comes over to let me pet her or rub her, or she'll put her head under my arm, and she knows that I'm anxious or upset,” Revels explained.
Raiki was trained at Green River Correctional Facility in Central City, K.Y., by inmates. The inmates receive a new crop of dogs—which are typically unadoptable or slated for euthanization—every 8 to 12 weeks and train them until they are matched with a PTSD solider, autistic child or person with special needs.
"Knowing that I'm a part of giving that to somebody else and kind of repaying what I took—it’s . . . I don't have the right words for it. I really don't,” said Danny Rice, an inmate at Green River Correctional Facility, who is serving a life sentence for murder.
Revels said she knew immediately after seeing her picture that Raiki was the dog she wanted—and the terrier has changed her life.
“I don’t know what I’d do without her,” she said.